When you check into a North Carolina hospital to undergo a surgical procedure, you expect your surgeon, as well as everyone else on the surgical team, to be a well-educated, well-trained health care professional who will do what they need to do skillfully, competently and with the greatest of care. The last thing you expect is that someone, especially your surgeon, will make a mistake that injures you or leaves you sicker than you were when you entered the hospital.

Unfortunately, however, errors happen all too frequently before, during and after surgical procedures. Worse yet, according to a recent CBS News report, your surgeon may not inform you that a mistake occurred.

Survey of surgeons

Per the results of a recent nationwide survey of surgeons, less than two-thirds of them, 62.5% to be exact, said that they give patients and their families the following information if and when an error occurs:

  • What type of mistake occurred
  • How it occurred
  • Why it occurred
  • How distressed they are that it occurred
  • How concerned they are about their patient’s welfare, both now and in the future
  • What they intend to do if their patient develops an illness or medical problem because of the mistake

Despite the fact that national guidelines not only call for health care personnel to fully disclose any mistake that anyone on the surgical team, the prep team, or the after-care team made, but also to apologize for the mistake, only 55% of the surgeons surveyed reported that they apologized to the patient or his or her family.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.